Shawn & Jessica: Where Are the Bodies?

If you’ve never looked at a list of local missing persons, do so now. Surprised at the length of the list? Where are they?

There are as many stories as there are missing individuals, but approximately 10% simply left their lives to start over away from legal responsibilities and family they no longer cared for. Roughly another 10% met with an accident or natural death, and their bodies have not yet been found. What about the remaining 80% - four out of five of those on the list?

These missing persons won’t be coming home either. They are the victims of foul play, but in most cases no one has a clue as to the events leading up to their disappearance. In a few cases, all clues point to one person or a certain set of people. In fact, sometimes the evidence is so overwhelming, one wonders why the authorities have made no arrest(s). In two words: no body.

This scenario is true in the disappearance of Robert DeShawn Childers of Florence and Jessica Leeann Hamby of Haleyville. Both cases have received extended publicity, and much has been written about the likely perpetrators. At this point, the families are not expecting to see their loved one walk through the front door. What they are hoping for is an arrest of any guilty parties, but without a body, a conviction for the crime would be dicey at best.

Shawn Childers will be gone three years on September 17th. The 51 year old Florence resident was last seen alive by a man who had moved into his home without invitation and who had reportedly been abusive. The roommate’s story has changed over the intervening months, and much has been proved a lie. One source told authorities that the roommate beat Childers up, finished him off, and then disposed of his body in an abandoned well. A search turned up nothing. The roommate has refused to take a lie detector test.

Still, without a body, the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s office has not arrested this career felon. The district attorney’s office most certainly agrees that the presumed murderer would walk without more evidence. Where is Shawn Childers’ body? How long must his family wait for justice?

Jessica Hamby was last seen alive in Hackleburg on January 2, 2018. The 24 year old Hamby left a rehab facility in Winston County and traveled to the home of her supposed boyfriend in Marion. What happened next has been disputed, but at least ten individuals who were at the homes in the family’s large compound have been extensively questioned.

It’s alleged that the man whom Jessica believed to be her boyfriend had begun a relationship with another woman and that the two of them, along with the new girlfriend’s brother, silenced Jessica when she threatened to inform on their illegal activities. Others say the young woman simply took too many drugs after her stint in detox and died suddenly, her body being disposed of in an attempt to cover it up.

Whatever the truth, the boyfriend is now in the state prison system on other charges. The Hackleburg detective who had initially investigated the case suddenly passed away. Family members say that since his death, no one connected to the investigation will speak with them.

A few days ago, a relatively small skull was found in Franklin County near the Marion County line. It’s not been proved to be either male or female, but many believe it to be Jessica’s. If the gruesome find is indeed Jessica, it may lead to the discovery of more evidence in her case. Over the long investigation, it’s often been stated that it will take just one person from the Marion County home to talk for at least three, and quite possibly more, arrests to be made. So far, no one has broken their silence.


Should the public expect arrests in these two cases anytime soon? No one knows the answer to that question. For the families of Shawn Childers and Jessica Hamby, waiting is comparable to attending a funeral every day. For the rest of us, it’s wondering if the murderers will possibly be bold enough to strike again.

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16 Jun 2019

By Staff